Can Anything Beat Envoi Allen?

Envoi Allen winning the 2019 Champion Bumper

The novice hurdlers take centre stage this weekend. Saturday’s highlight is the Tolworth from Sandown which precedes the Lawlor’s Of Naas on Sunday.

Naas will play host to the superstar Envoi Allen, who is a perfect seven-from-seven so far in his fledgling career. Here’s the lowdown on whether any of his six rivals can topple him. Be sure to make use of all our tips and analysis over the weekend, featuring action live on ITV including the Veterans’ Chase Series Final.

The Story So Far

The story started, as it does for many of Ireland’s best jumpers, in a point-to-point. Trained by Colin Bowe, he was sent off the 3/1 second favourite at Ballinaboola for a two-mile-four maiden. He cruised through the race before eventually winning by ten lengths.

A hugely exciting prospect, Cheveley Park picked him up for £400,000 in Cheltenham Sales in 2018. Sent to Gordon Elliott, he justified strong market support to make a taking start to life at Fairyhouse in December under Jamie Codd.

He was partnered by Codd in three subsequent starts last term, landing Listed and Grade Two bumpers in his native Ireland before he took part in the Champion Bumper.

Once more a well supported favourite, he showed a very taking attitude to repel the challenge of Willie Mullins’ Blue Sari. The form of that contest has worked out very well. The third Thyme Hill landed the Challow last week and the fourth has similarly won a Grade One over obstacles.

Gordon Elliott’s charge always had the look of a jumper. He confirmed that suspicion in no uncertain terms at Down Royal in November. He led from flag to flag under Davy Russell, overcoming sixteen rivals with the minimum of fuss, two of which have scored since.

An odds-on favourite for the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse next time out, he once more displayed an impressive attitude when repelling stablemate and subsequent Grade One winner Abacadabras.

Today’s Opposition

Gigginstown has two contenders in Conflated and Midnight Run, who both look vulnerable. The former could only finish third of four in a Grade Two last time. The latter impressed when scoring on hurdling debut but trailed home in last behind Envoi Allen last time out.

Joseph O’Brien also saddles Anything Will Do. He’s an improving sort having won four of his five hurdling starts. A great deal of further improvement is required as he steps up in trip today to threaten the jolly.

Willie Mullins has won four of the last six renewals and his Elixir D’ainay could prove the biggest danger. The six-year-old only found one now rated 142 too good on his hurdling debut. Absent for 300 days, he stayed on strongly to repel the re-opposing Longhouse Poet at this venue. After just four career starts, he’s unlikely to have reached his ceiling yet and the runner-up has since franked the form.

Another lightly raced rival is French Dynamite. Purchased for £165,000 after winning a point in May, he showed a game attitude under Robbie Power on stable/hurdling debut at Thurles in November. A promising sort, whether he is talented enough to mix it at this level so early on in his career is another matter.


The hype surrounding Envoi Allen means he’s always liable to go off a very short price. There’s every reason for that after seven faultless victories, handling the step up in grade with aplomb last time out.

It’s very hard to see him getting beat on Sunday. He looks more than ready for the step up in trip today and it’s more than likely he’ll arrive at Cheltenham in March with his unbeaten record still intact.

As a betting proposition, the current odds aren’t too attractive however. The Mullins’ trained Elixir D’ainay is not quite in the same league as him, but he ranks an attractive each way bet. The others have either had their limitations exposed or have plenty to find.

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